Our addictions and mental health issues are often fueled by the destructive, limiting beliefs that we’ve adopted over time and allowed to become our truth. When we experience trauma or loss, we develop fears that inform how we feel about ourselves and how we operate in the world. We are afraid that we are inadequate and unworthy. We are afraid that we will fail. We are afraid of being rejected, judged and shunned. We develop fear-based beliefs that direct our behavioral patterns, including our addictive behaviors and relationships. What are some of these beliefs?
When we try a substance or behavior that makes us feel euphoric and takes us away from our pain, we start to tell ourselves that this feeling is better than our pain, that we would rather feel it than face our problems. We believe that we need this thing or person to be happy, to be complete, to feel satisfied and fulfilled. All of these things are thoughts we have that we believe to be true. We could start to tell ourselves new things, such as “I would rather feel all my emotions. I would rather face all the parts of myself rather than try to hide from some of them. I am strong enough to face my emotions. I have everything I need within me to be happy, whole and complete.”
Our thought patterns form our harmful, self-destructive beliefs, reinforcing our fears and fueling our addictive behaviors. We tell ourselves we are weak. We tell ourselves we are dependent, reliant, addicted. We feel pathetic and embarrassed. We are filled with regret and shame. All of these things convince us to seek comfort in our drugs of choice, our addictive relationships and compulsive behaviors. We want to drown out these feelings as much as we can.
When we are working towards recovery, we not only want to abstain from our compulsions, we also want to heal the beliefs that are driving them in the first place. We have to start telling ourselves that we are strong. We are survivors. We have lived through overwhelming challenges and are still here. We can be independent and rely on ourselves. We can be redeemed. We can forgive ourselves and find peace and fulfillment. We are strong enough to handle our emotions in healthy ways. True recovery means telling ourselves new truths, creating new beliefs, and seeing ourselves in a new light.
Many of us in the Riverside community are in recovery ourselves. We understand the challenges, and we’re here to help. Call (800) 871-5440.